by Jatona

Kenneth Hutchinson murmured sleepily, rolled over and gathered the softness of the pillow(?) to him. Instantly he came awake, but before the panic could set in, his eyes fell on the roll of old parchment pinned to the pillow. It read:

The Birthday Game

Author's notes: Follow these instructions to the letter, and I'll promise you the best birthday ever. Trust me!
Yours in love, STARSK (signed)
PHASE 1: Shower, shave, and put on the clothing laid out for you on my side of the bed; then come to breakfast.

     The blond smiled. 'Trust me,' those last two words had read. Hutch grunted, remembering the time he had asked Starsky how come every time he trusted him they got into trouble. Ever-ready-with-a-comeback Starsky, those cobalt blue eyes twinkling with amusement, had replied, 'Oh, just lucky I guess.'

     He let out a contented sigh, and laid the note on top of the afore- mentioned clothing. "Okay, babe. So far I trust you. But we'll just see about the rest of the day," he whispered out loud.

     So saying, he left the warm comfort of the big brass bed, stretched and headed for the bathroom to complete PHASE 1.


The Birthday Game

PHASE 2: Sit down at table. If I am not there, don't touch anything. I'll be back in about five minutes.

      Replacing the neatly-written note--again on old parchment--Hutch gazed appreciatively over the table: white tablecloth with embroidered corners; their best China and silverware; juice and beverage glasses-- everything in its proper place.

      In the center was a breakfast that reminded him of Minnesota: fresh biscuits, scrambled eggs--with cheese in them; bacon done but not crisp; jam, butter, a pitcher of orange juice and--what's this?--a carton of low-fat milk. Jeez! Starsky's really going all out for this. But, still, the day is young...

      "Hi, birthday boy," a voice purred in his left ear from behind, interrupting his thoughts.

      Sudden waves of passion racked Hutch's body. Christ! He leaned back against the hard body. "'Morning to you, too," he murmured.

      The next ten minutes were spent wishing each other a very 'good morning.'

      After stuffing themselves (Hutch pronounced the breakfast excellent), and cleaning up the kitchen, Starsky disappeared upstairs. Seconds later, he returned with their favorite leather jackets, handed Hutch his, opened the door and, without another word, left.

      Hutch gazed at the open door, then down at his jacket. He was hardly surprised to find another note; it read:

The Birthday Game

PHASE 3 (the last one): Put on the jacket, don't ask questions, and follow me down to the Torino. The sooner we get going, the sooner you'll get your present.


      The drive was very pleasant, Hutch had to admit; despite the fact his curiosity was driving him crazy, it was so very hard not to catch his partner's infectiously happy mood.

      A voice, deep inside, whispered, C'mon, Hutchinson, relax and wait. Me and Thee, remember?

      Startled by the clarity of that thought, Hutch turned to look at his partner, and found twin orbs of blue fixed on him. Yeah, his soul responded. Me and Thee...always, babe.

      He leaned back for the remainder of the ride.


      Hutch was having such a wonderful dream. He and Starsky were in a steaming outdoor Jacuzzi, in one of the most fashionable, and expensive, spas California had to offer; the full moon was high in the sky and shone down on them; the stars twinkled above; Starsky's hand was resting on his knee, gently shaking it--back and forth, back and...

      He awoke with a start, clearing the fog from his mind. As his surroundings came into focus, he realized that the hand on his knee was, indeed, a reality. His partner had been trying to wake him. "Hi." He smiled, sheepishly. "Where are we?"

      David Michael Starsky, who throughout this entire escapade had been enjoying his lover's attempts at patience and indulgence, returned the smile. He pointed to the huge sign just two feet ahead of them. "We're here, babe," he replied softly.

      Hutch followed the brunet's gaze, then his jaw dropped. For once, he had nothing to say. All he could do was stare, in utter disbelief, at the sign, reading the name over and over again--it was the one from his dream. Still in shock, he did not notice when Starsky took his hand and whispered his name in his ear.

      Reluctantly taking his eyes off the sign, he turned to face his lover. "I...Yeah?"

      Starsky reached into the pocket of his jacket with his free hand, removed a thick packet and laid it in his friend's lap. "Happy Birthday, Hutch," he whispered.

      Sudden realization struck like a thunderbolt. Now he understood the need for secrecy and trust. He knew I'd be looking for something weird on my birthday. He knew I'd be expecting an argument, and now I know why their brochure disappeared. As they pulled into their reserved VIP parking space, Hutch fought down the excitement that threatened to overwhelm him, climbed out of the car, and prepared for the 'best birthday ever.'